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Dantewada: Goods train derailed, Naxal hands suspected        Never planned to meet Railway Minister Piyush Goyal in Delhi: Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan        GST rides on federalism: Narendra Modi        15 Killed, 10 Injured as Tractor-trolley Falls Into Canal in Telangana        Saudi Arabia's ban on women driving ends officially        White House spokesperson Sanders says she was kicked out of restaurant        Germany: Huge explosion rips through apartment building, leaves 25 injured        Hat-trick hero Kane helps England reach knockouts after beating Panama 6-1        Roger Federer loses No.1 spot as Borna Coric stuns him in Halle Open final        Federer beats Kudla to reach 12th Halle final        Hockey: Clinical India crush Pakistan 4-0 in CT opener        Infosys stable and on verge of something momentous: Nilekani        Boko Haram raid kills five in Nigeria: residents        Musharraf says he has not quit politics        AP will be torn apart if 'monkey gangs' come to power: CM        Congress neglected development of cities: PM        BJP will not allow Kashmir to get disintegrated from India: Shah        Wary of hacks, World Cup teams get serious on cybersecurity        You pass YoYo test, you play for India, says Shastri, Kohli endorses        Prof Debashis Chatterjee assumes charge as Director of IIM-K        
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International News
Afghan officials and Taliban talk despite wave of violence
 
Kabul, Feb 13 (AP) Afghan officials are carrying out at least two tracks of talks with the Taliban even after a month of brutal bombings and attacks by the militants that killed nearly 200 and despite President Donald Trump's angry rejection of any negotiations for now.

The persistence of the back-channel contacts reflects the desire to keep a door open for reconciliation even as the Afghan government and its top ally, the United States, fumble for a strategy to end the protracted war, now entering its 17th year.

Rifts within the Afghan government have grown vast, even as the Taliban gain territory and wage increasingly ruthless tactics.

The United States has unleashed heavier air power against the Taliban and other militants. After the string of Taliban attacks in recent weeks, Trump angrily condemned the group.

"We don't want to talk with the Taliban," he said. "There may be a time but it's going to be a long time."

Still, Afghanistan's intelligence chief Masoom Stanikzai and its National Security Chief Mohammed Hanif Atmar continue to each talk separately to the Taliban, say those familiar with the backdoor negotiations.

The problem, however, is that neither is talking to the other or to the High Peace Council, which was created by the government to talk peace with the Taliban, they said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the contacts.

Hakim Mujahid, a member of the High Peace Council, confirmed that Stanikzai still has regular contacts with the Taliban's point man for peace talks, Mullah Abbas Stanikzai. The two are not related.

Mujahid, who was the Taliban's representative to the United Nations during the group's five-year rule of Afghanistan that ended in 2001, said the group would not respond well to Trump's tough talk.

"The language of power, the language of threat will not convince Afghans to surrender," he said.

Andrew Wilder, vice president of the Asia Programme at the US Institute of Peace, said multiple players in Kabul have contacts with the Taliban.

"But this isn't being done in a coordinated manner to achieve clearly defined objectives," he said.

Later this month, representatives from dozens of countries are to meet for a second time in the Afghan capital for the so-called Kabul process aimed at forging a path to peace. The first round was held in June.

Still, the latest spate of violence has limited options for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who is also fending off a mini-revolt within his own government, feuding with the vice president as well as a powerful northern governor.

Meanwhile, the former No 2 of the Taliban, Aga Jan Motasim, who still counts the radical religious movement's leader Mullah Habaitullah Akhunzada among his friends, warned that Trump's strategy of using the military to force a more compliant Taliban to the negotiation table could lead to more suicide attacks.


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Musharraf says he has not quit politics
UN slams Trump over child detentions
Trump tells GOP to 'stop wasting their time' on immigration
Turkey hits back at Trump, imposes tariffs on US goods worth $1.8 bn
Israeli Prime Minister's wife charged with fraud
Iran lawyer arrested after claiming executed man innocent
UK PM calls US images of migrant children 'deeply disturbing'
Merkel, Macron search for reforms to halt EU 'disintegration'
S Korea, US confirm suspending military drills
Iraq force accuses US of killing 22 of its fighters in Syria
Merkel gets ultimatum from hardline ally over migrants
Nigeria: 31 people killed in twin suicide blasts
1 dead, 20 injured in New Jersey arts festival shooting
Pakistan SC bars Musharraf from contesting election
N Korea no longer a nuclear threat: Trump
Former president Maldives and chief justice sentenced for obstruction of justice
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
I am a big flop actor: Karan Johar
 (Mumbai, May 5, 2018): Filmmaker Karan Johar is in mood to take up full-fledged acting jobs.  
Bittersweet moment for us: Akshaye on Vinod Khanna's Dadasaheb Phalke honour
Happy Sonam is getting married, Anand a great guy: Harshvardhan Kapoor
Auctioning 'Rustom' costume for good cause: Akshay Kumar
KERALA NEWS
Kerala among 13 states on thunderstorm alert
 (New Delhi, May 7, 2018): Thunderstorms accompanied by squall, hail and heavy rains are likel
Kerala Karshaka Jadha Opens to a Great Beginning / Video
Malappuram press club attack: RSS workers nabbed
Workers injured in mudslide at construction site
NATIONAL NEWS
Dantewada: Goods train derailed, Naxal hands suspected
 (Dantewada, June 24, 2018):Eight coaches and engine of a goods train travelling through Dante
GST rides on federalism: Narendra Modi
15 Killed, 10 Injured as Tractor-trolley Falls Into Canal in Telangana
AP will be torn apart if 'monkey gangs' come to power: CM
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